07/09/2015 | Hardis Group

The logistics department of Siplec, the importing company for the E.Leclerc movement, has selected Hardis Group to develop, deploy and maintain its warehouse management software, based on the Reflex WMS solution. The objective is to have a solution capable of fulfilling the specific needs of large-scale importing, without calling into question existing business processes.

Hardis Group, a digital services company and publisher of business software packages was chosen by Cedilec, a subsidiary of Siplec, the importing company for the E.Leclerc movement, to develop, deploy and maintain its logistics management software, based on the Reflex WMS solution. This customized tool called Cediflex covers operational management of 4 warehouses that every year receive and process nearly 18,000 containers. During this three year project Hardis and Cedilec built up a strong partnership together, making it possible to develop a customized logistics management solution, tailored to Cedilec's specific activities and the existing processes and operating methods.

A new WMS solution to manage more than 100,000 m2 of warehouses

Cedilec (Leclerc's import operational center) is a 100% subsidiary of Siplec, responsible for receiving, storing and distributing imported products (non-fresh foods, textiles, footwear, etc.) to the brand's regional centers and outlets. This means the company receives roughly 18,000 non-palleted containers of goods per year, which are then dispatched to 4 warehouses located in Le Havre, with a total surface area of 106,000 m2.

To handle such volumes, Cedilec had acquired a specific logistics management tool, which it developed and enhanced as its needs evolved. But over the years, and because its technology was becoming obsolete, maintenance of this tool was becoming more and more complex. So in 2011 Cedilec decided to replace it with a more dependable long-term commercial solution However, it did not envisage changing its existing processes. Jacky Targat, the director of Cedilec explains "We have an organization that runs smoothly, and it was not our objective to change our operating methods. We therefore wanted to have a tool that would adapt to our way of working, rather than the other way around".

Cediflex: a specific tool build around a Reflex engine

So the Cedilec teams drew up a very precise set of specifications that they submitted to several software publishers. In the end the Hardis Group company was selected. Above and beyond technical skills, Cedilec was won over by the capacity of the Hardis Group people to understand their needs and challenges, their value for money, and the quality of relations with their own teams. Bertrand Patureaux, deputy director and project manager, gives some details "We immediately saw ourselves in the common values that we have with Hardis, forming a real corporate culture that is truly shared by everybody, not just by the sales and pre-sales people".

To develop Cedilec's new logistics solution, christened Cediflex, built around the Hardis Group's Reflex WMS warehouse management solution, 2,500 man days were necessary including 300 days of research and design, in order to incorporate all of the requirements stipulated in the initial set of specifications. In particular, specific Web interfaces were required, depending on the types of terminals used (desktop computers, laptops, industrial PCs, smart phones, screens on guns, etc.) for operational warehouse management, as well as dashboards incorporating the specificities associated with Cedilec's activities.

Strong partnership throughout the project

The solution was deployed in two phases. The first phase was in June 2013 at a warehouse with a single activity (food) that was the easiest to manage, compared to the other activities. In November 2014 the second phase was implemented in the other three warehouses, where more complex activities take place requiring centralized management of trucks and administrative supervision. "It's not every day you implement a WMS solution" adds Jacky Targat. "So we took the time necessary to develop a tool capable of meeting our needs for the next twenty years".

Since the project began in 2011, Hardis Group and Cedilec have built up a true partnership, much stronger than the normal customer / service provider relationship. "Vital", according to Bertrand Patureaux, to implement such an ambitious project. Above all it guaranteed success. "We collaborated in a healthy working atmosphere, with no power relation issues. Each person was able to take their responsibilities when necessary, and come to an agreement on a solution that suited everybody."

Today, the project is in a consolidating phase. Apart from a few adjustments and optimizations that remain to be implemented, it will be operational in a few weeks, without any interruption of business. As part of the long-term partnership between the two companies, the developed solution is both hosted on the Hardis Group's private Cloud infrastructure, and maintained by its third-party application maintenance teams.